In the summer, the weeping elm (Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’) is quite beautiful, with lush green leaves and a graceful, weeping habit. But the full beauty of this tree is really visible when it disrobes in the fall, the leaves dropping away to expose a glorious network of gnarled, curved branches in an intricate, graceful pattern. Slow growing, this tree takes time to reach its full beauty, but eventually it becomes a magnificent presence during the long winter months when a garden most needs something dramatic. Its natural growth habit is almost flat, plants are either grafted onto a tall standard or a young branch can be staked vertically to create a trunk and tree-like form to any desired height.
Common Name: Weeping elm
Botanical Name: Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’
Blooming Period: Early spring (not showy)
Type: Small deciduous tree
Size: To 15-plus feet wide, height depends on training
E xposure: Full sun to part shade
When to Plant: Spring or fall
Soil: Any, very adaptable
Watering: Not required once established
Zone: USDA Zones 4 through 7
When to Prune: Avoid pruning to preserve natural growth habit.
When to Fertilize: Not required in average garden conditions
In Your Landscape: Best appreciated from below, so get a high-grafted specimen or stake up a trunk to 10 feet to create a small tree you can stand and sit under.
From Michigan Gardening Volume I Issue VI. Photos courtesy of Joseph Tychonievich.